New Crypto Startup Enables Users to Send NFTs Using Phone Numbers – Is This The Future of NFTs?
Onboarding new users to Web3 can be a complex process, but Redeem, a US-based startup has made it simpler. By enabling users to interact with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) using their phone numbers, Redeem has streamlined the process.
The startup raised $2.5 million in pre-seed funding led by digital asset-focused investment firm Kenetic Capital, with participation from Monochrome Capital, VC3 DAO, The Fund, Flyover Capital, CMT Digital, KCRise Fund, and KESTREL0x1, Axios reported.
The startup will use the funds to continue building its core technology and for its product launch set for Q2.
Redeem is a Web3 technology provider that has developed a platform allowing users to send and redeem NFTs using their phone numbers.
Users can link any crypto wallet on any network to their phone numbers which then enables them to scan a QR code to redeem utility NFTs such as tickets, loyalty points, in-game items, etc.
They can also send and receive NFTs through SMS, Apple's iMessage, or WhatsApp without having to pay gas fees or know an external wallet address.
Redeem founder Toby Rush said that for the startup, "everything is about the phone number," adding that via this method, a single person is linked to a wallet through an existing verification system.
"The other cool thing about using your phone number is that you automatically eliminate all bots and effectively eliminate almost all fraud," Rush said.
He also noted that it is generally very challenging to onboard users to collect NFTs and actually use them.
Redeem, the website argues, links digital assets to something users already know, not requiring them to learn new systems or change behaviors.
Users can "access everything, all wallets, all worlds, all you need" - including eCommerce, metaverse, and gaming - with one phone number.
Kenetic Capital Founder Jehan Chu was quoted as saying that "adoption is the Holy Grail of Web3" and that Redeem's core features allow users to access Web3 with no crypto or blockchain knowledge.
"This is a game-changer for traditional enterprise companies who want to reduce cost and drive new user engagement via Web3 without complicated or risky crypto processes."
Meanwhile, Rush also founded the biometric ID verification firm EyeVerify, which was acquired for $100 million in 2016 by Ant Group, Alibaba's financial services arm.
Rush led the International Technology investments Team for Ant Group, and prior to that, he was CEO of ZOLOZ, an Alibaba digital identity platform that evolved from EyeVerify.
Kenny Conklin II is co-founder and COO at Redeem. Per the website, he was previously the President of the crypto market maker Analytico Trading, the COO of family investment office AzimuthZero, the President and COO of Farmobile, an agtech startup that was sold to AGI, and SVP of BATS Global Markets, a global stock exchange operator that was sold to CBOE.
"I love creating new user experiences that surprise and delight while hiding the complexity of the technology," said Rush.
"The ability to create, engage, and own assets outside the traditional walled gardens — like Apple or Google or Ticketmaster — while retaining trust is the biggest promise of Web3. To realize the power of this new technology, we have to make it approachable and familiar to the masses," he concluded.
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